Round Table on Antibiotics Research

All around the globe, antibiotics are becoming less and less effective against the growing number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The successful treatment of infected patients has consequently become increasingly difficult. One of the obstacles in the battle against resistant bacteria is the shortage of newly-developed antibiotics. The Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina established a Round Table on Antibiotics Research together with representatives from the scientific community, politics and industry in order to develop new strategies to overcome this shortage.

The Round Table was established in the wake of the policy statement on “Antibiotics research: problems and perspectives” published jointly by the two academies in early 2013 on the basis of the results of a joint workshop in Lübeck. In this publication, the experts recommended forming a committee that would bring all relevant parties together.

The World Health Organization (WHO) assesses the global emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as one of the greatest threats to human health. According to estimates, around 25,000 patients die from complications arising from an infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year in the EU alone.

The statement on problems and perspectives in antibiotics research is available for download as a free e-book, “Antibiotika-Forschung: Probleme und Perspektiven” (Antibiotics research: problems and perspectives):

The first Round Table took place on 13 November 2013 in Berlin and focussed on the state of antibiotics research and approaches for developing new antibiotics.

Participants in the first Round Table on antibiotics research held on 13 November 2013

In two ensuing workshops held in spring 2014, the relationship between human and veterinary medicine, as well as obstacles and solutions for the development of new antibiotics, were covered in greater depth.

Workshop on the “Use of antibiotics and development of resistances in human and veterinary medicine: facts and prejudices”
Hamburg, 14 March 2014
Documentation of the workshop proceedings

Workshop on limits to the development of antibiotics “Antibiotika: Grenzen der Entwicklung” (Antibiotics: Limits on development)
Halle, 15 April 2014
Documentation of the workshop proceedings

The second Round Table on Antibiotics Research took place on 27 March 2015 in Berlin. The focus of those discussions was on the results of the two workshops in 2014, issues concerning training and the further development of the research agenda.
​​​​​​​Participants in the second Round Table on Antibiotics Research held on 27 March 2015, Berlin

The third, and provisionally last, Round Table took place on 12 to 13 May 2016 in Lübeck on the topic “Fünf Jahre danach: Was hat sich im Bereich der Antibiotika-Forschung getan? Wo ist zukünftiger Bedarf?” (Five years later: What’s been happening in antibiotics research? What is needed in future?)
​​​​​​​Participants in the third Round Table on Antibiotics Research held on 12–13 May 2016, Lübeck

Five years after the first joint workshop on the topic the two Academies followed up by presenting the results of their work as a discussion paper. There they refer to a series of points that, in the view of researchers, should not be lost sight of when seeking a solution to the problem of antibiotics. Central are two aspects for which the discussion paper proposes a series of potential solutions: the increasing resistance of bacterial sources of infection to the available antibiotics in many countries, and the problem of the lack of new antibiotics.
​​​​​​​Discussion paper “Antibiotics Research – 5 Years Later”​​​​​​​ (August 2017)


Dr. Elke Senne
Research Administrator
Tel.: +49 40 42948669-20
Email: elke.senne(at)